David Archuleta Retrospective Series Part 22: Ave Maria

By Pamela Pike and Rosanne Simunovic

Pamela Pike’s Recollections

Once again we find ourselves enmeshed in the Christmas season, that very special time of year when we join our loved ones in sharing old traditions. What better way to celebrate the season than with David Archuleta’s “Ave Maria”.

It is a traditional Catholic prayer asking for the intercession of the Virgin Mary. Ave Maria was composed in about 1825 by Franz Schubert (1797-1828) when he was 28 years old and filled with devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Schubert actually wrote the music from an excerpt from the poem, “The Lady of the Lake” by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). In a letter to his father and stepmother Schubert refers to his music as “My new song from Scott’s Lady of the Lake especially had much success. They also wondered greatly at my piety, which I expressed in a hymn to the Holy Virgin and which, it appears, grips every soul and turns it to devotion.”

David performs the most beautiful rendition of the Ave Maria I’ve ever heard it expresses a reverence of prayer and brings tears to my eyes every time. It’s truly magnificent. As the lights dim and David begins to perform I am truly overpowered by the feeling of this song, it has a tremendous emotional pull. Nothing stirs my heart more than David singing Ave Maria.

You cannot but admire his music, the singing, the holiness in the moments your ears listen to such a mixture of sounds. While David sings with technical proficiency he appeals to his audience with emotional intensity.

Ave Maria is a song that illustrates a melody and dynamics that make’s David’s voice shine with a musical euphoria that beyond description.

David’s talent is a gift to the world nothing short of heavenly, it almost brings one to their knees it’s so glorious. Very few singers can attain the pitch control necessary to sing such a demanding song without musical accompaniment except for David.

Music is an expression of thought and emotion and David has the ability to speak to us deeply and uniquely by putting your feelings into words or phrases that usually you wouldn’t be able to do just by speaking. His music has a way of stirring our innermost feelings and all of our senses, tapping into parts of ourselves unlike anything else.

David Archuleta’s voice is pure magic and his rendition of the traditional carols is wonderful. His heart is a giving heart, a wide open heart that thinks of others first. His “Christmas from the Heart” album is a feel good Christmas experience that reflects his giving heart and shouldn’t be missed.

Rosanne Simunovic’s Recollections

On October 17th, 2009, I had the pleasure to review David’s beautiful CD, “Christmas From The Heart. It is an absolutely gorgeous CD and a “must have” recording to have in your Christmas music library.

From track to track, David’s voice is absolutely beautiful and his spiritual connection to the music is immediately transferred to the listener in a way that only David can achieve.

His recording of Gounod’s Ave Maria was heartfelt and ethereal. This is what I had to say about this gorgeous recording during my review of “Christmas From The Heart” four years ago:

“The exceptional voices of the Salt Lake Children’s Choir provided the a cappella opening strains to this beloved prayer by Charles Gounod/J.S.Bach. Their voices sounded angelic and true – nothing beats the sound of an exceptionally well-rehearsed children’s choir. Their addition perfectly established the reverent mood of this song.

And, as David began to sing, I have to say I was thoroughly impressed with his Latin diction. He is one of the handful of singers who correctly pronounced “Gratia“. In the countless number of performances of this song I have heard over the years, the singers always pronounce this word with the Italian diction – “grazia” -and not the Latin. Drives me crazy! But, I digress!

This is a very difficult song, but David mastered the technical pitfalls very well. The breathing spots in this song needed to be firmly established or the phrasing could sound fragmented.

The song moved along quite beautifully and he managed his breathing very efficiently. Good for him! This is a very difficult song and, yet, he performed this song exceptionally well.

At the end of the first verse, the Salt Lake Children’s Choir added their gorgeous harmonies, followed by David’s more soulful rendition of the second verse of this song. And this time around, the choir provided beautiful background to his solo voice and, as a result, the song truly flowed to another dimension.

I loved the melodic variation he incorporated into the original line – just enough to say “wow” but not too much to detract from the original beauty of the original composition.

I always love listening to David weave his vocal magic and artistry through well-known song material. He is an extremely innovative vocal artist and sings with a maturity far beyond his years.

This was a stellar performance! Can you come and sing at my Church? (smile)”

You can read my entire review of “Christmas From The Heart right here! Enjoy and Have Yourself A Very Merry Christmas. 🙂

About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

4 Responses to “David Archuleta Retrospective Series Part 22: Ave Maria”

  1. Thanks Pamela and Masterclasslady for a wonderful review of a beautiful song and my favorite Artist!!


  2. Thanks so much for another wonderful review. He is really something, isn’t he?


  3. Thank you Heidijoy and Grannycrush…David is a special gifted artist who deserves great praise and we are so looking forward to more of his beautiful music in 2014.



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